Monday, February 20, 2017

Writing Center Renovations Completed

By Emily Cardwell (majors: English & History) and Susanna Savage (majors: English/PR & Strategic Communication/Health & Risk Communication)

Over winter break, the Writing Center received a much-needed renovation in order to accommodate the growing number of students who use the Writing Center. The two smaller rooms were combined to make one larger room, and glass doors were also installed. The update created a more open and inviting space, thus increasing the work space and allowing students and Writing Assistants (WAs) to work more comfortably. “We’re really trying to create a space that’s inviting for students, including WAs, returning visitors and those who are new to the Writing Center,” said Dr. Maura Grady, director of the Writing Center. “The old layout was a bit confusing for people-- they weren’t sure if they were in the right place and felt awkward going into the front room of the center because it just looked like a small office from the outside. Actually, we had a lot of space, but that wasn’t visible from the door. With the central wall removed from the middle of a large window, there is a lot more light in the space and the whole area is visible from the lobby. The new glass double doors have clear lettering with our hours and online schedule ( so everyone has a better sense of where they are supposed to go!”

Features of the Writing Center include fifteen computers, many helpful reference books, and access to a printer. The Writing Center is open to all students and offers quiet space to work on writing assignments, even if you don’t have an appointment with a WA.

Although the renovation is the most visible, the new year has also brought other changes to the Writing Center. Drop-In tutoring started on February 6th and will take place every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Drop-In tutoring allows students to stop by the Writing Center and get help on a writing project without making an appointment. During Drop-In hours Writing Assistants are ready and waiting to help anyone who comes through the center’s doors. This program is especially valuable for students who are heavily involved on campus or in athletics, and might not normally be able to make appointments during the day. Its also useful when students don’t realize they need help on an assignment until the last minute. “The drop-in tutoring is a brilliant idea for students who don't have a lot of time to make a full, 30-minute appointment,” noted Writing Assistant Sophia Leddy. “They can come in just to have a few quick questions answered and stay for as long as they need. For those with a busy schedule and sports, this makes sense and will hopefully help those who need it!”

This semester the Writing Center has new extended hours. It opens at 9:00 am, Monday through Friday, which is an hour earlier than previous semesters. In addition, the Writing Center is now open until 5:00 pm on Fridays. Extended hours make it easier for students to fit a visit to the Writing Center into their schedules.

More improvements may be in store for the Writing Center in the upcoming months. “Dr. Grady, along with all of the WAs, have really stepped up and made an effort to make the Writing Center more available to students and ensure that it has a greater presence on campus. There are really great attempts being made to really form the Writing Center into a place where students feel comfortable going in order to work on papers of any kind,” said Ally Massimi, one of the center’s Writing Assistants. “This is just the beginning though, I know that Dr. Grady, and all of the WAs are really gung-ho about making the Writing studio more welcoming and more accessible to all AU students.”

The Writing Center will be offering special sessions on APA formatting the Week of February 20th. Interested students should check the online schedule, stop by the Writing Center or call x5670 for more information

When you get the chance, stop by the Writing Center to work with a Writing Assistant, or individually on your writing assignments. You can use our computer lab and printer even if you do not have an appointment. While you’re there, check out the Center’s new look and help yourself to a warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Visit the Writing Center web page for more information about our services: